A few weeks ago I framed the popular political argument “Do the Rich Hold Back the Middle Class.” My hope was that in summarizing the opposite ends of the argument, I’d show how economic data gets spun into economic narrative and that two opposing views are easily constructed from collected data.
Did you know that you might be paying corporate taxes and not even know it? Don’t bother checking your 1040 for an accounting error. If you aren’t self-employed, but paying corporate tax rates, you are never going to know for sure thanks to something known as tax incidence. Tax incidence is a term used in government to define the party who pays the financial burden of a given policy. Just because a piece of legislation outlines a tax or fee to one entity doesn’t mean that the identified entity bears the brunt of the legislation. Taxable entities and individuals often have the ability to shift legislative burdens to others, which means it’s important for policymakers to understand where the buck stops before crafting legislation that has unintended consequences.
Someone in mainstream media, and it’s not all that surprising it’s 60 Minutes, finally got around to covering one of Congress’ most astonishing ethical, moral, and soon to be illegal, violations of holding public office… politicians trading on insider information. Brief clip: Insider trading on the stock market: if you are a member of Congress, [...]
If you’re a member of Gen X and Gen Y, this is probably the scariest chart you will see in 2011, and possibly, right up to the time you’re old and gray. As you can clearly see, the crony capitalism, fake prosperity, recycled Keynesianism memes et al., have been a great benefit to the U.S. economy… right [...]
US Government Spending: Why the Republican Argument of “Obama is a Keynesian” Doesn’t Hold Water. ~ ~ ~ Being an idealist, I’m easily repulsed from any person/organization that I lose respect for. Case in point, the reason why I said goodbye to the Grand Old Party was because they’ve completely gone off the deep end [...]
Two years after making the observation that terrible earnings news was the time to buy (see first chart), it looks as if the billions of taxpayer dollars (via future earnings) have gotten corporate earnings back to credit bubble highs (see second chart). From May 18, 2009: An Index Fund Investor’s Dream: S&P 500 Earnings Nearing [...]
If you want a simple explanation of the root cause of America’s political and economic woes, this chart represents it. As Teddy Roosevelt so famously said: There can be no effective control of corporations while their political activity remains. To put an end to it will be neither a short nor an easy task, but [...]
David Stockman, former Ronald Reagan budget director and one of the early creators of Reaganomics, might be one of the few Republicans still worth listening to. Unfortunately for the real fiscal conservatives, my formerly beloved GOP has no interest in listening to rational 5th grade mathematics but prefers to play shell games with the budget [...]
As a former federal government employee, I know all too well how in demand we were because we knew “the ropes”. Private sector human resources management often drool over certain governmental employees because we, generally, know how the system works from the inside, have solid rapports with high pay grade shot callers, and know who [...]
If you watch one video this week, make it this one from Stanford & Harvard Law professor Lawrence Lessig. Highlights: 75% of Americans believe money buys results in Congress. Only 11% of Americans have confidence in Congress. There were more people who believed in King George III at the time of the [American] Revolution than [...]
One has to wonder if Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg thought about the potential to change the world on this magnitude: cause countries to shutdown all Internet access, serve as a organizational medium for national revolution, topple long standing monarchies/dictatorships, etc. First helping protesters in Iran, then helping Egyptian organizers, now setting the stage for a [...]
Once again, Barry Ritholtz proves why he’s the best “big picture” financial blogger on the web. Period. From my vantage point, no one has a better handle on ignoring agnotology all while using it to his advantage. [Ritholtz segment begins at 12:50.] Couple highlights: When you say the market’s integrity is questioned, it’s beyond any [...]